FirstNet’s board has a new member, as U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritker yesterday announced that veteran private-equity investor and telecom executive Barry Boniface will join the board that is tasked to build a nationwide broadband network for first responders.

Currently a partner with the middle-market private-equity firm of MSouth Equity Partners—a job he has held since May 2012—Boniface spent the previous five years as chairman and the head of communications-and-media mergers and acquisitions for Barclays Capital and Lehman Brothers, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Before entering the financial arena, Boniface worked for a decade at BellSouth, serving as chief strategy and development officer during the more recent of his two stints with the telecom company, which is now part of AT&T. As an advisor or a member of a corporation, Boniface has been involved in several of the largest telecom mergers, including BellSouth/AT&T, Cingular Wireless/AT&T Wireless and Sprint/Clearwire.

“The FirstNet board has been working hard toward implementing a nationwide wireless broadband network that enables our first responders to better respond to emergencies and save lives,” Pritzker said in a statement. “With more than two decades of business and management experience in the telecom industry, I believe Barry Boniface will be a great addition to FirstNet.”

FirstNet Chairman Sam Ginn echoed this sentiment.

“Barry Boniface brings to the FirstNet Board a wealth of experience building and financing technology and telecommunications businesses, which will assist us greatly as we develop our plans to build this nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety,” Ginn said in a statement. “FirstNet is taking on a task of historic proportions, and Barry’s financial expertise will help us ensure that we develop a network plan that is self-sustaining.”

Boniface will fill the FirstNet slot left open when former board member Bill Keever opted to not be considered for reappointment earlier this year. Boniface is scheduled to serve a full three-year term on the FirstNet board, according to a FirstNet spokesperson.

Boniface said he wants to help public safety.

“I truly believe in the FirstNet mission and think it is a critical element in keeping our first responders and our communities safe,” Boniface said in a statement. “I look forward to serving on the board and leveraging my experience in the telecom industry to help make this mission a reality.”